Just a quarter (24%) of UK adults feel favourably towards David Cameron, according to polling conducted by Savanta in advance of the Conservative conference in late September.
The poll, assessing the relative favourability of past Conservative leaders with that of Rishi Sunak, found that only Theresa May (22%) and Liz Truss (12%) had a lower ‘favourable‘ score.
However, only John Major (37%) and Margaret Thatcher (41%) had a lower ‘unfavourable‘ score than Cameron (45%).
This implies the public were more likely to have a neutral view of Cameron (27%) than most other Conservative leaders.
Among 2019 Conservative voters, a third (32%) feel unfavourably towards Cameron, the same proportion as incumbent, Rishi Sunak. However, Conservative voters are significantly more likely to feel favourably towards Sunak (47%) than Cameron (39%).
Tory voters are more likely still to feel favourably towards Boris Johnson (53%) and Margaret Thatcher (66%).
Cameron’s appointment as Foreign Secretary comes amid a reshuffle where outgoing head of the FCDO, James Cleverly, moves to the Home Office to replace the sacked Suella Braverman.
Suella Braverman’s most recent personal ratings, from Savanta’s October political tracker, found a net favourability of -23 among UK adults, but +10 among Conservative 2019 voters, her highest net rating among that group since her appointment to Sunak’s cabinet.
Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta said, “David Cameron’s appointment as the new Foreign Secretary has raised plenty of eyebrows and caught many by surprise this morning, but this data implies it perhaps isn’t the wisest of moves from Sunak in terms of public opinion.”
“While Cameron has been ‘out of sight, out of mind’ for a long time, he still doesn’t have an especially high favourability among the public. While he’ll bring plenty of experience to the Foreign Office – and a new style of leadership to the Home Office in the form of James Cleverly – Suella Braverman being the first domino to fall in this morning’s reshuffle presents some danger to Sunak.
“Her improving personal ratings among Conservative voters was noteworthy, and despite being a distraction to Sunak recently, the concern she could cause further issues from the backbenches makes one wonder if it was worth keeping her a bit closer to Sunak, given the appointment of Cameron may not be hugely popular with the public either.”